Offense, Offense, take that football whole way up the field!
Offense, Offense, let’s score and score and never ever yield!
Such is a battle cry that still rings true for the Pittsburgh Steelers today.
And there’s Ben and AB.
There’s Le’Veon and Martavis.
There’s Markus Wheaton and aren’t we all here in western Pennsylvania excited about seeing what De’Angelo Williams can do?
There’s Pouncey and DeCastro, too — on their way (if not already there) to becoming some of the best at what they do in the National Football League as they bruise and damage those men across the ball from them.
The prospects for this edition of the Steelers offense seem vast, with that 30 points per game threshold being tossed out there not so much as a goal, but something serving more as an expectancy to Steelers Nation.
There are, indeed, all those aforementioned names that slip right out of your mouth when mentioning why this Steelers offense has a chance to be so darn potent.
A question, however: Doesn’t it feel like tight end Heath Miller gets forgotten about a bit?
Doesn’t it feel as if, with all that explosiveness and rapid strike potential lining up around him, Miller’s steadying force and stabilizing play is something that we’ve all just grown accustomed to?
To me at least, it feels that way.
But please don’t ever take it for granted. Understand that he might not be at his swiftest anymore at 32 years old, he might not be the yards-after-catch threat he once was and he most likely won’t ever catch eight touchdowns in a season again like he did in 2012, but Miller is, undeniably, a pilot light of sorts for this offense.
At this point in his career, Miller has become, at times, a glorified tackle and at other times an underneath threat in the passing game but he will most likely never again be a long ball threat for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
No matter — for Miller’s job is now one where he quietly goes about his trade, whether it is pulling in 66 passes as he did last year, dragging a defender into him to open up space for someone more speedy or standing along the line, shoulder-to-shoulder with the bigger linemen and blocking the heck out of someone.
In this age of the hybrid tight end, Miller is a true throwback hybrid when few are left; a player who can catch, run block and pass block and who is able to impact a game just as much while doing any of those.
So what does a guy like Miller, who is entering into his 11th season, do to enhance his game during camp when he knows his role with this team — however not flashy — is perpetually defined?
“I still try and take the mindset to come out and get better every day,” Miller told 93.7 The Fan. “That’s no different [from when I was younger]. But the long-term goal is to be ready to go for that first game.”
When that first game does begin, that blockbuster against the New England Patriots, Miller will be counted on to continue doing what he does — simply keep on keepin’ on. He won’t do it with flash or zest, with a showy ostentatious demeanor, but rather a workmanlike manner in which he carries himself.
That’s the same way he answered a question when he was asked about the goals of this offense. It comes down, for him, to simply winning.
“Obviously we have a lot of talent on our side of the ball,” Miller said before pausing for a brief moment. He then continued, “Um, we just want to win, no matter how many points it takes … certainly we’re capable of putting points up but I don’t get into the numbers. Every time we get the ball I want to try to put it in the end zone. That’s my goal.”